Monday, December 28, 2009

Fiddlin' while I wait...

For a while now, I've been interested in photography.  I guess it first started when the Greyhaired Kiddos were born.  I wanted to capture the BEST photo I could.  I will admit that my children make taking good pictures easy.  Not because they sit still.  Or smile.  Or even look at the camera.  But, because they are both good lookin' kids.  (Not tootin' my own horn or nothin' here, but these kids have great genes!)

I've gone from a Canon digital camera that was about as big as a kids' shoe box to, now, a Canon PowerShot that is about 3" by 1".  Both worked well, and served their purpose.  For a time.

I now strongly desire to take GREAT photos.  Not only of the GHK, but of still life.  I see things in my world and think, "Oh!  That would make a great picture."

So, I've done my research.  I've talked to photogs.  I've decided on my new camera:  A Nikon D40.  Now, to save up...

While I'm saving up for the new camera, I have been reading more about photography.  Apparently it's not as easy as pointing and shooting -- at least not in the world of the big girls.  So, I'm taking my time to learn more about exposure, light, shutter speed, etc.  And I've also come to realize that finished pictures are almost always "fiddled" with.  Part of the beauty (and the fun, if you ask me) comes when you fiddle with the photo.

Okay, okay, I know that professionals call it editing.  However, I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be, a professional.  And it's my blog.  So, let's fiddle, friends!

There are many programs to help you fiddle with your photos:  Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.  I use Picasa, which is free photo software from Google.  It's very easy to use to store, arrange, edit, and upload photos to a blog.  However, it has minimal abilities as far as fiddling goes.  As I'm not in the market to purchase any heavy duty fiddlin' software right now, I have been playing with Picasa as I learn more about photography.

Take, for instance this, photo:

Not staged.  Cute girl.  Great pose.  Hmmm... what can I do with it?  How about crop it?  Sepia it?


Wheeeeee!  This is fun!

How about another?  Are you game?


And, after:

We're on a roll now!  Woo-eee, baby!



Can you tell I'm partial to the black and white?

Okay, one more.




See how much fun photo fiddlin' can be???  (I must admit that after my repeated use of the word "fiddlin" and the editing I did above in Paint, that I am now hearing the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies in my head!)

I also happen to feel a tongue twister coming on:  Photo Fiddlin' is Fun ...  Hmmm, that needs work.

Until next time, I'll be here fiddlin' with my photos while I save up for my new camera!

Greyhaired Update

Well Christmas has come and gone.  We've gone to two Christmas programs, baked countless cinnamon rolls and cookies, wrapped -- and unwrapped -- countless gifts.  We've sung countless carols and read the Christmas story countless times.  I've taken countless pictures (okay, okay, they're not really countless... there are about 200 photos I've snapped throughout the month of December.) 

So, without further ado, our Greyhaired December... You might want to get some coffee, and maybe some leftover cookies.  It's a long 'un!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 "Glory to God in the highest,
      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."     Luke 2:  1-20

Glory to God in the highest, indeed!  

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Wishing you a blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Keepin' it real...

So we've had pork chops thawing in the refrigerator for like, um, two-ish days.  I like to make sure my meat is thawed.  Really thawed.

The plan was to throw them on the grill tonight.  However, it's been raining here all day.  And I'm such a good wife, that I didn't want to subject my husband to stand in the rain to grill the perfect pork chop.  Plus, the grill is so waterlogged it won't start.  It has rained so much here that the road leading to our house is under water and our side yard is now a pond.   We won't get into the drainage issues that the county procrastinates fixing,  as I feel, ahem, back to the chops...  (Whew!  Tangent divert there!  Good work, GHM!)

Lately, I've been channeling The Pioneer Woman.   Well, parts of her.  I have been reading her blog and trying some of the recipes.   Not that I homeschool, live on a cattle ranch, or have written a cookbook or anything, but there are a few things about PW that I find kinda cool:  I would love to own her cameras/lenses and take the caliber of photos she does.  I would love to have her kitchens (yes, that is supposed to be plural), not to mention her culinary skills.  But, most of all, I love her sense of humor.  She's sarcastic.  My type of gal!

Back to the pork chop dilemma.  Did I mention I had a dilemma?  I know I mentioned pork chops, but I think I might have missed the dilemma part.

I had a pork chop dilemma:  Need to cook thawed chops.  How to cook them?  A good teacher/mom/blogger like myself knows what to do:  search the 'net and steal a good recipe.  Only problem?  It had to include ingredients I already had because I didn't want to build an ark and paddle to Publix.  And did I mention we're at the end of our weekly menus and that food is a bit scarce in our house?   Picking a recipe proved to be a bit challenging:  
All Day Crock Pot Chops? Nope.  No time.
BBQ Chops with grits?  Nope.  No grits.  (That's like a misdemeanor in Cackalacky, so shhhh!)
Orange Glazed Pork Chops with Stuffing?  Nope.  No oranges.  Or glazey stuff.  Or stuffing. 

You get the picture.  A lot of "nopes" going through my mind.  Well, I think there was one "uh-uh", and possibly an "there ain't no way I'm eatin' that!" 

So then I think, "HMMMMM... I'll bet Ree (that's the Pioneer Woman's real name) will have something for me."  And, you know what?  She did.  Once again, P-Dub comes through for her fans.  Namely, me.

So what if PW's recipe calls for thin breakfast chops and I've got big ole' mack daddy chops?  So what if it calls for oil AND butter?  (My treadmill is crying right now thinking of all the extra miles it will be forced endure.)  So what if it calls for smashed potatoes and wedged iceberg salad as sides and all I've got is a box of Bisquick and a head of broccoli?

Undaunted, I head to the kitchen and begin making my fried chops, steamed broccoli, and biscuits.   All is well until I decide to make actual biscuits instead of my usual sloppy drop biscuits.
I knead the dough, 10 times, as the recipe says.
I roll out the dough to 1/2" thickness on a properly floured Bisquicked surface.
I cut the dough into beautiful biscuity shaped thingies with a 2.5" biscuit cutter.
Okay, I'm fibbing.  I don't have a 2.5" biscuit cutter.  Or a 2" biscuit cutter.  Or any biscuit cutter.  Who'da thunk a University of Idaho beer glass could multitask?    
The biscuits look a bit thin, but I figure they'll rise.
I followed the recipe exactly.  They have to rise.

So, our dinner was good.  Fried chops turned out very well.  Not tough, just tasty.

Steamed broccoli was, well, steamed broccoli.  (Do you really need a pic of that?  I'd say no.)

And the biscuits?  The biscuits...

Hard tack, anyone?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It has to be done...

For a few months now, I have been perusing a very entertaining blog.  It is based on a "famous" email about a certain cake.  Many of you have seen the photo:

And the story:   "Best Wishes Suzanne.  And, underneath that, "We will miss you."  Got it?

Yeah, they got it!  (Apparently they got it from Wal-Mart, but I'm not here to point fingers.)

So, from this cake, a best selling book and blog developed.  It's appropriately called Cake Wrecks

There are many days that I look through the archives of cakes and laugh so hard I cry.   (I won't lie -- the ones that really make me hoot are under the tab entitled Oh Poop.)

(Not even going to comment on that sign!)

There are other days I am simply amazed at how artistic and beautiful some of the creations are.   (These are usually found under Sunday Sweets.)


Anyway, if you're looking for a laugh, check it out.  It will be worth your time!

Take, for instance "Poo-dolph" here...

Or maybe you're looking for something a little different for your holiday party.  You want your contribution to the company potluck to stand out.  So, of course, you will choose the perennial favorite of Christmases past:

The Puppy Pecking Parasite of Pastries Past:

It's a DEER TICK!!  Hee hee...

Like I said, there's also some very classy and beautiful creations:

But, if I'm honest, it's the Cake Wrecks that make me laugh, cry, scream, snort, and pee almost wet my pants!!

Oh, Oh, Oh is right!

And if I'm really, really honest?  It's the commentary that accompany the cakes that makes the whole adventure so hilarious.  (And, sometimes you need the comments to simply figure out what the cake is supposed to be, or what the writing on the cake says!)

Just go there.  Read.  Enjoy.  Laugh yourself silly...